all About me

Hello. Here’s the ‘About’ bit where I am meant to tell you how marvellous I am! Well, I do think I am marvellous, but no more marvellous than anyone else. We are all uniquely beautiful with specific purposes. And what I am about, through my work as a comedian, actor and writer, is helping people feel confident and free to be who they are.  We are ALL marvellous!  And if we are free to follow our heart you never know what might happen…

It’s crazy when I think how I used to act out all the parts in Annie the Musical aged 7 every day after school and nearly 40 years later I made my West End debut as Miss Hannigan.

It’s mad how much I imagined what it could be like to be in a BBC studio doing a sitcom and I ended up acting in many including The Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous – which meant working with childhood heroes.

And then, for goodness sake, I ended up winning awards for Miranda, the sitcom I wrote and starred in, following it with an arena stand-up tour. All totally unexpected.

I have had the opportunity to play some wonderful roles including Chummy in Call the Midwife – an inspiring woman who shows us that an introverted gentleness is a quality people so love and need. Another heroine is Miss Bates in Jane Austen’s Emma who shows us the power of humility, kindness and forgiveness.

But despite achievement in the arts I believe our key purpose is not to follow success, status, power or wealth but to learn to be who we truly are, loved and accepted, within whatever we do.  The greatest gift of my career is to realise that it’s the least important part of me.

What else? I support these charities: Resurgo, Comic Relief, Theatres Trust and the Prince’s Countryside Fund. I am passionate about animals, nature, theatre, music, swimming and boating (never happier on or in water!)

  • 1972

    14th December.Born in Torquay, Devon (the doctor told my mother “it’s a long one”)

  • 1977

    First experience of watching my parents cry with laughter at the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Specials.

  • 1984

    Already trying to be the class clown.

  • 1990

    Cearly found myself funnier than others found me!

  • 1992

    University… Less said the better...

  • 1994

    My First Edinburgh Festival Show. I went every year for 11 years. It was frustrating at the time, but in retrospect taking longer to get in to comedy meant I had truly honed my act.

  • 1996

    Academy of Live and Recorded Arts Drama School.

  • 1997

    Orange Girls, my comedy double act was formed.

  • 1998

    Started office temping in the charity sector as a PA. Every year I would leave before the Edinburgh Festival assuming my big break would come. Every September I would return asking for my job back!

  • 2001

    Started working as a PA at Comic Relief. Assumed the acting career wouldn’t work so chose Comic Relief as the place to base myself going forward.

  • 2002

    Started going solo with stand-up and sketches on the London and Edinburgh circuit.

  • 2005

    Hyperdrive. My first sitcom main role. Retired the office work.

  • 2007

    I got my best friend, little Peggy. She belonged to the costume lady on the set of sitcom Not Going Out.

  • 2009

    9th November. Miranda, Episode One, Series One first aired. I assumed it would fizzle out and I would go back to office work, which I was fine about - I just hoped I wouldn’t get recognised!

  • 2010

    Comic Relief! Having been a life-long fan and working there as a PA , helping them as a comedian was a beautiful, surreal, life-moves-in-weird-ways moment.

  • 2011

    I met and fell in love with Chummy in Call The Midwife. Only went and got nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress!

  • 2012

    My first book Is It Just Me? was published. I didn’t even do English A level!... It was a No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller.

  • 2013

    Gangsta Granny with David Walliams.

  • 2014

    Pretending to be Beyonce at the 02 on my stand-up tour. My backstage rider was probably less complex than hers – a banana and a dog bowl (for the dog, not me).

  • 2014

    The finales of my sitcom aired. My alter ego finally accepted herself and married the love of her life. I was genuinely crying in the last little speech to camera.

  • 2015

    The movie Spy was released. Had one of the best times in my life filming it in Budapest.

  • 2017

    West End Debut as Miss Hannigan in Annie. Being in a musical when musicals had been so much part of my life - unbelieveable.

  • 2017

    Hosted the Royal Variety Performance. Made Prince William gallop!

  • 2019

    Getting up at 5.30 a.m look to film Jane Austen’s Emma. A Working Title Movie.